Thursday, August 16, 2007

Writer's Corner

Nick Antosca

"I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me." - Bukowski

Through the eyes and the heart of an outsider can come page after page of dark and twisted fiction. The outsider paints their reality, boarded up in a one room apartment madly recording every thought, every moment. We now call this the outsider's life, but there was a time when the word of choice was solitude. When a writer is allowed the time and space to slip inside of his own mind, the character and situations can be endless.

Such is the story of Nick Antosca's first three years at Yale University. During his time in college Nick found solitude, and from the age of 18 to 21 he was able to write a novel a year. Of those novels, Fires was the one that allowed him to sign a deal with Impetus Press. In an interview earlier this year with Ned Vizzini of Bookslut, Nick had this say about Fires, "Fires feels like an ex-girlfriend. I am very fond of it and I remember every crevice, but artistically I've long since moved on". That is no insult to this novel, but a sign that growth and literary expansion is in store for Nick's follow-up, Midnight Picnic.

Recently Nick took some time out from his constant writing to answer a few my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Your recent story "Mammals" published on Identity Theory is about twins who discover they were actually triplets. What inspired that story?
Nick Antosca (NA): The story was inspired by wanting to write stories about a) someone who discovers he has a teratoma, and b) someone whose job it is test cosmetic products on animals. I actually find the latter more interesting. People do have these jobs. There are people who drip nail polish in rabbits' eyes all day and then go home and eat pizza or whatever. Are they cool with that or do they have nightmares? Some must.

OA: Now that we are eight months out from the publishing of your debut novel "Fires", how do you view the process as a whole? What, if anything, will you do differently with you next book?
NA: Fires was fun to publish. My publishers, Impetus Press, had just gotten started. We were kind of playing it by ear a little. That's fine. They will publish my next book, Midnight Picnic , next year, and I am looking forward to that. In terms of what we will do differently, I don't know--plan out promotion/reviews a little bit more ahead of time?

OA: I read that you had written " Fires" during a lonely, yet prolific period in your life (ages 18-21). Can you tell us a little about "Fires"?
NA: I wrote Fires (the first draft) in just a six weeks, from January 2003 to maybe beginning of March 2003. It's a traditional novel in its structure and prose and so forth--it takes place in roughly the real world. Not all of my stuff is like that. Midnight Picnic is not like that. Also, Fires includes a lot of things from my real life, like descriptions/experiences of being an outsider at Yale and descriptions of a neighborhood very like the one where I grew up. It's a paranoid, depressed novel.

OA: Do you perform at readings? What are your thoughts on readings for novelists as opposed to poets? Yes, the novel is the highest form of story telling, but is it meant to be read a loud?
NA: Yes, I do readings all the time. No, I don't think novels are particularly meant to be read out loud. But there are many reading series in New York, so it's an easy thing for me to do, and they are generally tolerable experiences. Sometimes I meet other authors whose books I really like. I like doing readings in bookstores more than in bars, but either way is all right.

OA: Who are some of you biggest literary influences?
NA: Nabokov, James Salter, Ray Bradbury, Denis Johnson, Alicia Erian, John Fowles, Graham Swift, Martin Amis, William Trevor. I guess that's an embarrassingly Caucasian-male-heavy list. Well, it is what it is.

OA: What's next for Nick Antosca?
NA: More books. All books that are very different from one another. Midnight Picnic will come out next year from Impetus if everything goes as planned. I have another finished novel that no one wants to publish--you should see all the rejection letters. I'm putting together a collection of short stories. I've just begun another novel about a rabies-like disease that is triggered by toxins that accumulate in adipose tissue so it only affects obese people.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite kind of coffee and where is your favorite spot?
NA: I actually never drink coffee, but I do eat a lot of sushi and raw oysters. My favorite sushi place is Ise at 56 Pine Street, and my favorite place to get oysters is Lure Fish Bar during the happy hour, when they are $1 each.

OA: What type of music do you currently listen to, and who are of your all time favorites?
NA: I listen to all kinds of music. I go to concerts sometimes by the Harlem Shakes, which is the band of my friend Lexy Benaim. They're very good. I like Cat Power, The Beatles, Necro, Gene McDaniels, Chris Whitley, Neil Young, Eddie Money, Omar & the Howlers, The Cars, and anything that's been in a Martin Scorsese movie.

For more information on Nick Antosca visit his blog, and to order your copy of Fires go here.

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